It’s that time of the year when publishers release titles in bunches so they are out before the Holidays. It also means my to-read list just gets longer and longer. Here are a few books I just can’t wait to read.
One Dark Throneby Kendare Blake – the sequel to Three Dark Crowns. Three sisters with three different powers but only one will survive to be crowned Queen.
Before the Devil Breaks Youby Libba Bray – Book three of the excellent The Diviner’s series. To quote Evie, it really is the Bees knees.
Our Mom is visiting me in Brooklyn this weekend. When she comes I always look for things that we haven’t done before so when I finally realized that BookCon was going to be at the Javits Center while she was going to be here we decided to go. Both of our parents inspired our love for reading. Mom has already 81 books in 2017. Putting my 25 books to shame. She’s never been to anything like this before and my only convention experience was at BookRiot Live. Which was tiny compared to this. The Javits Center is huge. Not surprising since this is also the home to New York Comic Con. We decided first to explore the vendors as we got our bearings. Pretty much every major publisher was there with a mini store and most a signing area. Now there were signing areas that you had to sign up for ahead of time and then smaller ones that you had to line up for. It was kind of confusing what was what. Also, we seemed to always miss all the free giveaways the publishers were handing out but that’s ok. I’ll live. After we had a quick bite to eat we headed to hear Rainbow Rowell talk. I’ve read all of her books but Mom hasn’t. Before the talk began, Mom asked if any of her books would make her cry and I was like yes but I’ll lend her Attachments because of all Rainbow’s books that seems to have the less tears. I think. She was just a delightful as I imagined her to be but the one comment that stuck me was talking about Eleanor and Park and sad it is that having a fat female protagonist was somehow revolutionary. We all know someone who is overweight. We have seen them in relationships, married and have kids so why wouldn’t they have their own love stories? After Rainbow, we went back to the vendor floor. We each bought a few books, tote bags and shirts before heading down to hear Jeffery Tambor. The Arrested Development star has a new memoir coming out and after seeing him I want to read it. He was funny, smart and completely honest. We then went to our final panel of the day with Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, Laini Taylor and Marissa Meyer about Magic and World Building moderated by Daniel Jose Older. I adore all these authors books (Mr. Older’s book are on my to read list) so it was interesting to hear how they all go about crafting their stories. The most interesting part was talking about you are always building a world no matter if you are making a world from scratch or drawing from the real world. I’ve never thought of that. Maggie said that authors talk about how if they were to assign each of them to write about this room they would all write it differently because they are writing from their perspective their view and how that is reality but not completely real. It was an interesting talk. It was then that we decided to leave as it was a full day of books and fun. I’m glad we did it because it was something new and different. My one complaint was that it would have been better if they had clearer signage of where things were because it was kind of hard to figure out where things were. We had to wander around to find things. Either then that it was a fun day.
As you may have noticed. Kate and I haven’t posted much lately. I’ve been on vacation and had every intention of updating while I was gone but I was too busy enjoying doing nothing but hanging out with my parents and friends that blogging didn’t happen. Oops. Let’s try to make up.
Stars Above is a collection of short stories that takes place in the world of Lunar Chronicles. Most of the them are prequels, giving readers more insight into who the characters were before the action the novels. In the case of the first story, The Keeper, it fills in the story of how Cinder came to earth and how Michelle Benoit and Scarlett fit into her life before she became a cyborg. Glitches follows Cinder as she meets her step family for the first time and how she went from the great hope to the just the mechanic. In the Mechanic we get to read Kai’s first meeting with Cinder from his perspectiveand the final story, Something Old, Something New takes place a few years after the end of Winter where the whole gang comes back together for the wedding of two them. I won’t say who because I don’t want to spoil it but you will be happy. My favorite story was The Little Android. It’s the only story that doesn’t star anyone from the Lunar Chronicles but does feature a cameo by Cinder. It’s about an Android like Iko that wants to be more then just an android. She starts to have feelings with a human and buys an escort android body to pass herself as human to get closer to him. The problem is that the man is in love with someone else. We get a better view of what life is like for people living in New Beijing before Cinder’s revolution for androids, cyborgs and humans. It’s a very bittersweet story but beautiful written. This collection is worth it just for this story alone even if you are not a fan of the Lunar Chronicles. For the fans, it’s a must read.
The Glass Sword came out yesterday. I preordered my copy over a month ago thinking I would get it by today because that is what I was told to expect it. Well, it wasn’t shipped until yesterday and I’m not supposed to get it until Friday. FRIDAY! I finished Deadfall on my commute home last night. So what do I read now? This is my dilemma. Do I read something new and run the risk of not finishing it by the time Glass Sword gets here? And then do I finish reading the new book or do I start Glass Sword because that’s what I really want to read? I’ve never been a fan of stopping and starting books. I like to read them all the way through. It’s part of why I mostly only read one back at a time, though I have done the two books before. So my other option is to read something I’ve already read before. It won’t be that hard for me to stop in the middle if I don’t finish because I’ll know how it ends. That would make the most sense but then I’ll lose my momentum on my book challenge. Not that my challenge is all that difficult since I know I can read 65 books in a year but I do hate to lose. Do you have this problem? What do I do?
This year it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 books as there were so many books I really loved this year. So to narrow it down, I had to ask myself which ones was I still thinking about even after I started reading the next book? Those are ones I choose for the list. (These are really in no particular order
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – This book I really wish I read when I was a teenager as so many of the messages I could have really used. You would almost think that a book about teenage beauty queens stuck on a desert island would be caricatures but they weren’t. They were very like girls I know or were me. I could pretty much identify with all of their struggles. Plus it was a lot of fun.
Winter by MarissaMeyer -I am really going to miss this series so much. Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter made me laugh, cheer, angry ( on their behalf) and proud of all of them. Winter was by far the longest book of the series and it was non-stop action. There wasn’t any filler or time to relax. It was the perfect ending.
CarryOn by Rainbow Rowell – A little bit Harry Potter and a little bit of fanfiction. It was a great final book to an imaginary series. I was surprised by many of the twists and turns and touched by the romance.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I loved the first book in the series and so I was nervous this one wasn’t going to be as good. It was better. Now my only complaint is that she doesn’t write fast enough.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – It was fun, tense and very interesting. I thought I knew where things were going and then I didn’t. I’m looking forward to what lays in store in the next book.
Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – This wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. It was surprising. It was fresh. It had the sassiest A.I. in the history of A.I.’s. For that reason alone, you all should read it.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – It was sorta historical fiction with a dystopian vibe and boy did it work. It was brutal and it was tense but entertaining.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This was very much an Ocean 11’s style caper with a little bit of a magic and darkness in only the way that Leigh Bardugo could do it. It’s set in the same world but after the events of her last series but a completely different vibe.
The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson – This is the third book in the series so the stakes are so much higher and it didn’t disappoint. It’s full of humor, action and ghosts. What else can I say.
The Rose Society by Marie Lu – This is the second book in the series that tells the story from the villainess point of view (though I’m not convinced that Adelina is the real villain but whatever) It was intense and was surprising, maybe a little problematic but worth the read.
There was two books that I enjoyed so much that I read the other books in the that were out in the series this year too. So I thought they would get their own category.
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – For those looking for a Game of Thrones fill in until George publishes the next book, I recommend this. It was has all the twists and turns and is not afraid to kill of a character or two. I’m never really sure where it’s going to take us next but I know it will be well worth the ride.
Talon series by Julie Kagawa – It has a little bit of everything. A Romeo and Juliet Love, a love triangle, a betrayal and yeah dragons. Who doesn’t love dragons? Ok, the idea isn’t that original but I do love it anyway.
For my last Series You Should Check Out post of the year I thought I would do something different. In the spirit of Award Shows In Memoriam segments. I thought I would take the time to highlight and say goodbye to the series that I loved that came to their conclusion this year. It was only 4 and I know that I have highlighted them once (or many times) before but all good things need a proper send off. So without much further ado. Here are the Series that I said Goodbye to in 2015.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer What can I say about this series that I haven’t already said? I am truly going to miss this it. The mix of fairy tales and sci fi was perfect. It never felt forced. How Miss Meyer was able to incorporate this familiar stories into her own new world and combine them with such ease was truly impressive. It all came off naturally and fun. It was full of romance, action, wonderful heroines and even a little social commentary on how we treat those who are different and the difference between tyranny and freedom and the lengths one goes to lead. Next year Meyer will release a collection of short stories that revolve around reverse perspectives of important scenes and even a wedding for one of our couples but it had the perfect ending for a fairy tale. They all lived happily ever after.
Penryn and the End of the Days by Susan Ee This series was very different in it’s look at Angels. As they are not all that angelic like at all or at least how we have come to think of Angels to be like. It touched on two major trends in YA of late with both it’s dystopian and fantasy elements and they blended nicely. It also had a strong lady protagonist in Penryn. She was brave, smart and fierce. She had flaws though. She had to get over her own fears and even prejudice to truly win the fight. It was an uneven trilogy as the second book wasn’t as strong as the first but it was still a great read. I’m curious to see what Susan Ee does next now that Penryn has come to a very satisfying ending.
The Goddess War by Kendare Blake Greek Gods and Goddesses living in the modern world is not a new idea. We all know of Rick Riordan’s work but this was a little different. Instead of Gods and Goddesses that live on top of the Empire State Building overseeing what is going on in the world. These Gods and Goddesses actually live in it though barely does anyone know who they really are. It was a twist on the Greek Champions. Instead of them being the children of the Gods, they are the original Champions, reborn. Once again, we are introduced to Odysseues, Hector, Achilles, Cassandra and more. Instead of reliving the Trojan War they make their own paths to save the Gods and Goddess of Olympus. It was fun, a little romantic, action packed and a new take on everything we have grown to love about Greek Mythology.
Finishing School by Gail Carriger In this steampunk version of England there is a girls finishing school that not only teaches girls to be the finest women in all of England but also the deadliest. Sophronia is the best student at Madame Geraldine’s. Through four books she has drove every teacher banners with her constant curiosity and always in the thick of things. She knows every square inch of the ship that is her school and every secret there is to know in England. From the inter-workings of vampire hives and werewolves clans to evil secret society of the Picklemen. She has thwarted evil plans and made friends with those all over the class spectrum. From the charming Soap who is black and one of the sooties who works on the ship to the devilishly handsome Felix who is a Duke’s son. She may be a women in Victorian England but she is anything but helpless. More then once she uses her own skills and intelligence to save the realm from treasonous acts. It’s funny so funny and filled with action and excitement that I’m sorry it’s ending but good news is that Gail Carriger has other series set in this world.
So those are series that ended that year that I love. What series did you love that ended this year?
This is it. I don’t want to say that this will be the last time I read Winter or The Lunar Chronicles but I am ready to move on. This was a very lovely series that was just fun to read. So here we go. My last few observations Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Kai, Throne, Wolf and Jacin.
I liked all the romances but Scarlet and Wolf’s is the best. Wolf is torn from his family, forced into the army, his body physically altered and none of this he wanted. He spent the entire series fighting what was done to him so he could have his own choice. That he wasn’t just a monster he was made to be and Scarlet saw him. Maybe from the very beginning when he was just sitting in the tavern, maybe in the fight pit or maybe on the train but she saw HIM and even after everything, that’s all she ever saw. That’s love.
I do love Throne’s devious plan to prove he’s worthy of Cress’ love. That my friend is a criminal mastermind.
Winter is adorable. I’m not sure what I think of Jacin. He’s still a jerk but he does have his reasons. If I was raised in the Lunar court I would probably be like that too. I saw that they both truly cared for each other but I wasn’t quite connected with them as a couple as the others. Maybe since I only really got one book with them and they spent most of the book apart from each other.
Cinder is amazing. After everything that she has been through. She still finds away to be fair to Adri and Peony when they had never been fair to her. A lesson we all can learn. She will make a great leader. I think that best leaders are the ones who don’t want to but do when needed.
I do hope that she and Kai do stay together
I’ve said this before but I do love the friendship between Cinder and Throne. He was the first to follow her and to go along with what she wanted and needed. True at first he thought their would be money involved but he was game for everything. I think that is what made he final battle that much more powerful.
Levana is a terrible person but she also had a terrible upbringing. I read Fairest, the prequel, and we find out that she was never shown love from her parents. Her sister was cruel to her and was responsible for her own burn injuries. She had always felt inferior and really just wanted to be loved. She was the second daughter. The second woman in his husbands life. Well really the third after Winter. She was never anyone’s first until she ascended to the throne and only because she manipulated everyone. I’m not saying any of this excuses her behavior but terrible people are not created in a vacuum.
Whatever Marissa Meyer will write next. I’m totally going to read it.
Now on to Cress. If you have been following along. You can read my thoughts about my second readings on Cinder andScarletthere and there. Again *Spoilers*
I think I mentioned this before but I love how our heroines have non-traditional jobs. Cinder is a mechanic, Scarlet is a pilot and farmer and Cress is a computer programmer and hacker. They may be based on fairy tales but doesn’t mean that have be damsels in distress. (though I do love Cress’ line about being a damsel in distress instead of a being a prisoner)
I do love the friendship between Cinder and Throne. The bickering back and forth between the two is truly delightful. It really sets up for the big ending.
Cress’ reaction to seeing sand, trees and animals for the first time is just plain adorable. I love the scenes where she is forced to describe their surroundings to Throne who has temporarily lost his eyesight. It’s really cute.
In Cinder Jacin is described as having a pony tail but is never described with one again. Does he get his haircut?
Also a lot of characters have blue eyes. Cress, Throne, Jacin and Dr. Erland. Okay that’s only 4 but that is half of them.
When Jacin says he serves the Princess, did everyone just forget that Winter exits? That might have been a good idea to say, hey how did you know? I know there were a little unsure if they could trust him and for good reason but it probably might have been a good idea to let him in on the Princess Selene angle. Sure, he might have did what he did anyway but maybe not. Communication could have been a little better, that’s all I’m saying.
Lunars can be real jerks. They manipulate and torture Scarlet and then put her on display in the menagerie. I do hope Cinder gets rid of the families when she takes over.
I hope they make a movie or TV show because I want to see the scene at the end when Kai is looking for Cinder and sees Wolf sewing up his wound and looks up and says “Your Majesty”. Classic.
One more book to go. I probably won’t have as many thoughts about Wintersince I did just recently finished it but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited about it.